The wind is still pretty strong, but the sun is shining at last! For the Osaka region, the typhoon Lan is over. Yesterday was a scary and memorable day, my first evacuation due to a nature catastrophe.
It has been raining almost continuously for a week and a very late typhoon with an unusual trajectory made landfall a few hours ago on Honshû, the main island of the Japanese archipelago. Yesterday evening, as the level of the nearby river rose so quickly and became too near to the bridge deck, we were afraid of an imminent flood.
With 3 other persons living in the pension, we therefore decided to store most of our belongings in the attic and to evacuate to a nearby pharmacy, owned by our landlord. Situated much higher than the pension and far from the river, it was a safer solution. We then packed our indispensable stuff (passport, computer, etc.) and went on foot under pouring rain to the pharmacy.
Above the pharmacy, there was a tiny flat where we could stay until the water peak was reached. After speaking with our landlord, we went with him by car one more time to the pension to pick up more stuff, in order to stay for the night. In the meantime the water level has risen again and the local authorities gave the evacuation order of the district near the river.
At the flat, we spent the whole evening eating and drinking, forgetting for a while the weather inferno outside.
This morning then, after a bad night sleep, we came back to the pension, as the flood alert was over. In the end, there was no flood in our area, but it was a record high water level... It was my first evacuation and hopefully the last one !
Now that the typhoon is over, I finally take the time to continue the story of this unusual stay in the land of the rising sun.
I actually had planned a fairly busy schedule with hikes and numerous daily trips throughout the Kansai region. But the weather has come to oppose my plans...
Despite these very unfavorable conditions, I still enjoyed several autumn festivals, not only the Danjiri Matsuri (see previous blog post), but also last Sunday the blessing of the Daiko Futon at Hiraoka Shinto Shrine, another very spectacular experience. This time the carts weight only 1-2 tons, but without wheels and are shouldered by max. 40 people. Impressive!
After this great festival, I went out on two more occasions.
Last Tuesday, I made a public transport marathon (12 changes and nearly 5 hours of travel), first going to Arashiyama (a city west of Kyoto), then making a quick passage through Japans' ancient capital, and finally visiting Uji, a very old city surrounded by beautiful mountains south of Kyoto. Half for work (visit and search of accommodation for the trip with customers next spring), half for tourism, this long day proved exhausting but fruitful. Uji among others is a beautiful place where I plan to return as soon as possible!
Last Friday, I continued my discovery of Osaka's Shotengai (shopping arcades) with a Japanese friend. I am a big fan of Shotengai, adoring to wander through these huge covered streets full of small shops all more interesting than the others. But in the end, the marking event of the day was very different, my first show of Kangeki.
This pretty unknown art combines traditional dance phases, a play in the samurai age and comic scenes, all interpreted and danced by a troop of men (the majority) and some women, all often disguised with clothes of the opposed sex.
The Kangeki theater where we went is hidden in a transversal lane in the heart of a Shotengai. When we entered the theater, as the lady at the reception told us that the performance lasted 3 hours, we almost came out.
It would have been a big mistake! It was exciting, funny and the performance of the actors / dancers was impressive!
The public, mostly seniors, was passionate and many people gave regularly during the show gifts to the dancers, sometimes even bundles of 10,000 Yen notes (about 80 €) assembled as a fan!
I honestly loved the Kangeki theatre, this new colorful UFO of Japanese culture! In a few days, when the effect of the typhoon will be over, I will finally resume my exploration of the hidden treasures of Kansai. See you soon !